The butterflies have started...... Although having had hypnosis things are a little easier. I don't feel the need for tranquilisers now! ;)

The volcanic ash has now added to my overactive imagination, and can now visualise engine failure and panic!

Its only a 2 hour flight to ibiza..... help me get a grip!


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Yo Kate
2nd of June you say. Superb. Plenty of time to get you chilled. 

Here is my advice, and it may seem a bit silly, but bare with me, it is definately going somewhere. So let's start by narrowing this down - what has caused the old grip to get shaky? See my take on this fear, and I am sure others would back me on this, is that it is a wood and the trees problem. Here we are standing at one side of the woods and want to get to the other, and the strongest and safest path is to negotiate and move past each individual tree on our route. Now if we tie a note to each tree about each fear we have, then we can start moving our way to the other side. 

Ok so now I am going to help you move past two of the trees you mentioned. Tree 1 - ash clouds. These only happen in certain situations and the weather people and aviation people work closely to monitor them accurately. They do this so they can make their safety judgments, which ok annoy people, but in aviation, safety comes first. If there is any risk from an ash cloud, you won't be allowed to fly. You should use the current situation to reiterate the importance the CAA put on safety

Tree 2 - the bad visualizations. For ages I plagued myself with these. I could imagine all sorts of nonsense happening. But I realized just because I can visualize it doesn't make it real. The wood with all the trees isn't real, but it is just as easy to visualize. So let's try to stop visualizing bad flying things and visualize good aspects, like getting to Ibiza, being proud of yourself, dealing with your fear. 

So I know some of this was a bit silly, but I hope you can see where I am going. Break your fear into its parts and tackle each one individually. 

So what other trees you got?


You sound just like my hypnotherapist!!!! :-)

Where do I start?? For 11 years my fear has been growing from a Very turbulent flight back from amsterdam when I was 16. Prior to that I really didn't mind flying at all.

I think your right if I break it down it sounds irrational! It usually starts from when I book my flight, knowing I'm going to feel they way I do in the run up - expecting and waiting for it to happen.

Getting everything organised is stressfull enough. Then when I get to the airport all the security freaks me out a bit, I regually take deep breaths through this stage...... Tag to the tree ( they are there to protect us - I know!)

Waiting to get on the plane, butterflies are having a party.. I've been known to break into tears at this point. Not really for an obvious reason other than I don't know what else to do to try and control the break down.

Once on the plane, all I can see is row after row of seats, windows etc (claustrophobia kicks in).

When we do finally taxi onto the run way, I just think this is it - theres nothing I can do now (not that there is before). and I start to relax 'a little'. Although I am constantly listening to the engines and any noise changes send waves of panic through me.

Although strange as it may sound, I'm quite happy when we start to descend and any noise changes or movements don't really worry me! When we do touch down. I'm very giddy with relief!

I've tried to educate myself - The physics, the noise changes, etc... but even though I know its the safest form of transport I just can't help thinking that, that flight I decide to book on will be the one that something happens to....... As with most people that fear flying. I'm sure i'm not alone on that one!

I try my hardest to keep a brave face for my children because I would hate for them to have the same fear!

I'll be with you when I get a moment




Just a quick answer to something in your post.


The chances of you randomly being on a flight that suffers an accident is 1 in 23,000,000 or 1 In 35,000,000 I'm not sure which.


Would it make you feel any better if I found out which is the correct figure? If you get my point.


Keith  :)

Hi Kate

Let me ask you a simple question. Why would pilots fly into the ash cloud? The meterological office has predicted the path it will take, and will give information to pilots about its exact location on a 30 minute basis.

The fact that some airline executives think they know better is neither here nor there. Pilots get a map of the weather over the route which included information about...guess what...ash clouds.

Stop visualising stuff that won't happen and visualise about being on the beach in the sun...much better for you ...and that will happen.

Captain Keith


Hi Kate,


I know how you feel. I'm flying on June 7th.  Only a 45 minute flight, but still feeling quite anxious.  I think some of the worst parts is all the anticipation.  If only we could get rid of that!

Good luck Annie, you'll have yours all wrapped up before I set out!

Thanks for the info captain Keith. . . . . . note to self: Visualise being on the beach! ;)

Thanks for all your comments and support - it nice to be able to talk to people with the same issues. Although my hubby is great he doesn't have much sympathy for me as he (obviously) doesn't share the same fears!

Hey Kate

First off, sorry for being like your hypnotherapist, I guess the guy i saw for a while to work on relaxation and positive visualisation rubbed off on me, ;-).  That, and I am a psychologist - see, just proves anyone can get this fear right?


As for you, to be honest i think you are handling your fear a million times better than you think you are or that you are giving yourself credit for.  Your response was so not what I expected at all.  There was no panic about turbulence or wind or weather etc.  Everything you said mainly relates to expectation right?  Almost sounded like the flying part really isnt the issue as much anymore - maybe I am wrong on that, but even you said that once you actually start going you begin to relax a little.  From my own personal experience, you are only a few steps before relaxing a little in the airport, or waiting for the flight, or going through security, or waiting for the day to arrive.  So how about this coming flight, concentrate on being just a tiny bit calmer waiting for the flight.  A tiny small improvement right, but in our world, a massive step.  To me it sounds like even you know that once actually in the process of flying then you are going to be ok, and that part will take care of itself, - and remember, being ok with it all is fine, nobody ever said we had to love it.  So lets now focus on making things a bit better actually waiting for the flight.  For me actually, this was the hardest part, and although I am a millions times better now, I still get some apprehension but nothing i cant handle. What worked for me was breaking each stage down bit by bit and managing each bit as it came along - mainly through breathing.  To tell you the truth, i spent about a year treating every 5 minutes in an airport as a new goal and an achievement - got through that 5minutes ok, now for the next 5.  And yeah, every once and a while there was a cheeky tear down the side of the eye, but looking back, it was definately worth it.  I can remember many times when my wife would have to remind me just to focus on what we were doing at that point, and not think about how i might feel later, e.g. during the flight.  What about getting your husband to remind you to just focus on the now when you are travelling - to be honest, he doesnt really have to know what it means, as long as you do.  Hopefully some of this sounds familiar or helpful.  I totally believe you are getting there.  Quick test, what if someone woke you up tomorrow and said you had to fly to say dublin or something.  My guess would be that because of the lack of the time to panic and the lack of time to visualise the nonsense that we do, then you would just get on with it and do it.  What you think? 


One other thing, dont concern yourself about not being convinced by the facts and figures about flying.  For some it may not help, but I do believe for the vast majority  it makes a great difference.  But the main thing and again, one of the hardest things to really achieve, is the change from 'knowing' flying is the safest form of travel to 'believing' it is the safest form of travel.  And as many people on this forum would back up, the only way you will ever make that change from knowing to believing is doing it.


I know I have said "the hardest thing" a couple of times now, but I really believe that things like believe and expectation are the last hurdles.  Removing them is sometimes like finally cutting the apron strings - although we hate our fear and wish we never had it, in some ways it became comforting because we knew how to react and behave.  Now we have to start learning to feel ok and comfortable with flying- not impossible, just requires some work.  See, just like cutting the apron strings.


I really hope some of this helps kate.  I honestly think you are doing well with your fear and perhaps this time you just need a little more encouragement to make that switch to really believing in yourself.  Stick with it, you are definately getting there.


So i going to finish by adding to keith's postitive visualisations by bringing it a bit closer to home: when you are imaging that relaxing time on the beach, use that positive feeling to start thinking positively about other aspects about the holiday and the trip.  Just like one bad visualisation can spiral to many, so can good ones.

always keep us posted and as Keith says all the time, start congratulating yourself





Thanks phil, I think you have me sussed!

Last year we left our holiday to book last minute (2 days before) I had such a good flight there and back and felt brill. Then I went on a 'girlie' hol to malaga in oct and again had a fab flight there but we flew from leeds bradford and because the airport was so small it was lovely and quite and relaxed....... and I actually helped someone else through the flight that was so scared she sat with her eyes closed the whole way! Then on the way home Malaga airport was the exact opposite and the panic set in again (hence the worry this time because I had a panic on the way home last time).  Think the hypno must have worked for flying but not for airports!

The funny thing is - Busy, hectic places don't cause me a problem anywhere other than airports! Nor any of the other phobias I have mentioned come to think of it!

I'm usually very controlled and logical - Honestly!

Thank you for taking your time to offer your advice phil!


Yeah, i can definately agree with a lot of what you say.  For the most part I have to be logical and rational - I do research, so it wouldnt pay to just run off crazy with an idea and start publishing it everywhere.  But as soon as I start thinking about the planes that I will be on, then the irrational side can really start to kick in.   Weird isnt it how we forget to remind ourselves that the flight we are going to be on doesnt just happen that day, and the crew werent just suddenly created that day to take us from A to B.  Nope they fly that same route everyday - or every other day, or something, but you know what i mean.  This was something I had to remind myself as I waited in Phoenix last year getting a 7am flight to LAX on a small jet.  Helped to see the pilots and crew all talking like it was just any old other day to them.


As for airports, now they are just designed to cause stress.  Dont let that worry you - you just have to look around and see the couples falling out; the parents getting angry with the crying children; people going home from holiday and back to reality - it isnt just people that dont like flying that find airports hectic.  Of course they arent all like that, Barcelona is huge and yet very quiet.  My guess would be that when you were in Malaga, part of the stress was that end of the holiday feeling, and also maybe a little sleep deprivation from the 'girlie hol'.  It is amazing the number of good flights out I have had followed by not so much fun ones back simply because of over exerting it on the holiday or stag weekend.  I partly think that my fear of flying kicked in because a lot of the time i felt terrible and was being over-sensitive do to lack of sleep and excessive alcohol.  Keith always recommends a good night sleep and not a lot of alcohol before flying.  Like that is possible!!!  I guess the trick is, when we arent feeling so confident, is to see it for what it is: i.e. more tired and fed-up than worried, just it is sometimes that we feel those go hand in hand.


anyway, i think you are going to be great.  And a two hour flight for the sun of ibiza is definately worth fighting this fear for.


just remember to post back to let us know how you got on.  And feel free to send the good vibes around - i flying to NY and quebec by myself at the end of next month and the jitters are starting.


all the best kate




Thanks Phil, I'll let you know how I get on. Although I have to say I'm really feeling it now with 2 days to go. I nearly cried a moment ago when I rcvd an e-mail requesting that I do our online check in!!!!! arghhh.


ok so this is where you really need to start using those breathing techniques that your hypnotherapy would have taught you, or that you would have seen on here.  Breathe slowly and deeply in for say four seconds, and then slowly out. Keep doing it until you feel relaxed. And then do it for a bit longer. It is true that it is very hard to worry when you are breathing slowly and controlled. 


this is definately one of those times when you have to start living in the now, not the future, right?  I know that sounds really cliched but for us it can be the difference between being nervous and being relaxed.  The reason you are getting stressed at online check-in is because of your mind starting to do the roll of what happens next:  you check-in; which means you have to pack; which means you have to then go; etc. etc.  But if you control your beathing and see it for what it is, then in reality you are just clicking buttons on a computer - no need to deal with the flying part until you are actually doing it. That is my technique all the way through a trip whenever I feel worried - i say to myself stuff like, "i am only in the taxi to the airport - no need to think further ahead than this" etc.  Some parts are maybe a bit tougher than others, sometimes i am only looking to get thorugh the next 5minutes, but works for me. 


Believe me Kate, I am totally not trying to belittle how you feel at all, I know exactly how you are feeling through my own experience.  I know it is tough but I totally believe you can do this.  i going to be around on here til about 12 if you want to chat a little, or later or tomorrow. 

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